VIDEO: Take a look inside Gympie's most haunted building
THERE are "haunted house" stories told all over Gympie and surrounds, but reported apparitions at Joe's Grand Hotel in Goomeri might just take the "spooky" crown.
What stands on the Boonara St grounds today is undoubtedly one of the region's most beautiful buildings, but the old hotel met with tragedy when nine people perished in a destructive fire on December 23, 1939 - nine years after it was built.
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Much has changed in Goomeri since the hotel was rebuilt about 1942, but staff members and locals agree that remnants of the past may remain within the walls.
Emma Lucas has managed the hotel for five years and regularly feels the "heebie-jeebies" when she works the closing shift, but says one particular experience "gives me goosebumps every time".
"Everyone had gone home for the night and I was standing behind the bar, my husband looked behind me and he saw a guy walk past, walk through the swinging door and into the office," Mrs Lucas said.
"He insisted on going back there to find this dude and there was no-one there. It was a man, definitely a man."
Mrs Lucas said guests, patrons, staff and even paranormal investigators had reported other sightings in the hotel, such as a barmaid in the ladies' toilets who shouted at visitors to "get out" and a woman smoking in the doorway of an upstairs room.
She said "pretty intense" activity had been flagged in the infamous Room 11, where it's said one young man lost his life in the 1939 blaze.
Hotel cleaner Sally Detlefson said she had also witnessed and heard of strange happenings in her seven-year tenure.
"We had two workers here who swore they saw a woman standing in the walkway, smoking," Ms Detlefson said.
"A past cleaner said she felt someone push her down the stairs, but she turned and there was nobody there.
"I was walking upstairs one time and I felt somebody was beside me, and someone tapped me three times on the shoulder. Normally I can hear someone walking beside me, but there was no-one.
"Smoke alarms have gone off in the bottle shop like there was a fire twice, and both times they just stopped by themselves. I was cleaning another time and the old (gramophone) on top of the piano came off. Just like that."
Mrs Lucas said locals, visitors and staff all still enjoyed the hotel's atmosphere, and insisted the ghostly presences were just part of the furniture.
"We just accept it, we embrace it, we love it," she said.
"It's a beautiful building, you see it lit up at night. We've never felt anything sinister, it just feels like there's something else here."
Visit www.joesgrandhotel.com.au for more information on the history of the hotel.